So we released a quick survey on January 10th through Twitter and Facebook in order to get some opinions about the website layout and the content for Persona Central, and I’d like to go over the responses and let you know how they may influence us moving forward.
Not being a design professional, the first thing I was interested in was which layouts I had in mind that resonated most with the readership. So the first question was:
With the image for the designs in question being:
Basically, option 2 and option 4 are the designs people seem to like the most. Option 2 was the front page layout before the one as of this writing (option 1), but I thought it might occupy too much space or be confusing in terms of post timeline (plus, I see all the other game blogs going single column) so I changed it to a single-column design for articles.
Obviously, given the preference, I’ll just side with the majority and change it back. Considering the results for option 4, though, don’t be too surprised if Persona Central eventually assumes a similar design in the future. I’m pretty into it, too.
Jumping ahead a bit because it’s related, someone said this in the additional comments section of the survey:
You’ve already addressed this in the questionnaire on the first question, but I would prefer a more compact layout on the website. In the current one it’s spread widely and for me, it’s difficult to focus. But other than that, I think your content and everything else you’ve been doing so far has been great.
I imagine that you would prefer option 4 to option 2. After releasing the survey, I was reminded of something really basic: you can’t please everyone. Hopefully, option 2 isn’t too much of a problem for you—I personally kinda like wider designs—but, again, I might change to something like option 4 sooner or later.
Layout: Featured Image
Second question was:
The preference here is pretty obvious. Originally, there was a featured image slider at the top of the site—above other posts—with a large image associated with each “Featured” post.
I kinda liked it as a way to point to what might be “important news” alongside the “Popular Posts” section to the right. But I also kinda didn’t like it because of how big I thought the original version was and because I’m honestly often not sure which posts to flag as “Featured” and it almost feels arbitrary.
I’ll change this one back, too, since most prefer it. I might look into some changes for it, if possible, but it’s a good way to highlight certain content and I do like the slider.
Content: Megaten-only or not
Third question was:
Most people do like the non-Megaten (but always Atlus related) content, which is great. And a big portion of the rest are neutral on it, which is also alright since I interpret that to mean the opinions of that segment wouldn’t change if the non-Megaten related content was to disappear or stay (makes things easier for me).
It’s the smaller portion who don’t like it that I want to focus on.
The Name “Persona Central”
First thing I want to address:
Again,love to see more coverage of mainline Shin Megami Tensei,yes I know the site would become Megami Tensei central because of that but…………it’s already kind of Atlus Central ever since content about Odin Sphere was covered,which I welcome ^_^
Honestly, I really love the site, but I somewhat find it funny that it’s still called Persona Central, despite covering more than Persona.
So the history of the site’s a bit weird but, in short, it was supposed to only be about Persona… until the scope changed and it gradually started covering other Atlus developed properties starting with Genei Ibun Roku #FE.
Renaming the site would be a pain, and the brand’s established and all that, so… yeah. Persona‘s always going to be Persona Central’s primary interest, so I’ll just choose to believe the name still works.
“No” to Non-Megaten Content
That aside, several of the comments to the “What sort of content would you like to see LESS of from Persona Central?” are relevant here:
Odin Sphere. I like All of the news for Atlus Developed games (like, SMT, #FE, Etrian Odessey) but games that are only Published by Atlus, I don’t think have a place here.
Non-Megaten, Atlus game news.
Non persona games
Etrian, Vanillaware, etc games that aren’t Persona related
I like using your twitter for updates when something new is released, like P5 PV02, but it’s started getting cluttered with other games. I do like what you’re doing though.
That’s just some of them. So, I said something earlier about not being able to make everyone happy, and that’s relevant here; this opinion actually puts me in a tough space. Here are a couple of opinions on the opposite end:
If what you’re going for is an all around “Atlus Coverage” news site, I’m cool with that. The more interviews and coverage you provide about Atlus, the better, imo.
I can image some MegaTen elitists don’t like your reporting on non-SMT titles but please continue bringing general Atlus news as well
I think it’s well balanced as it is now, I like the extra industry/merchandise news too.
Personally, I’d like to cover everything with significant ties to Atlus. Ever since the Atlus x Vanillaware tease, I would argue this actually does include Vanillaware and, relatedly, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir in a unique way (see: Vanillaware and Atlus history post).
Then there’s the fact that most seem to be okay or even like the non-Megaten content. The majority of the responses we received were people stating that they were satisfied with the content we currently provide.
I don’t want to just handwave away the complaints from those who would only want to see us report on Persona, but it’s tough to not just continue in the direction we have been, considering the above.
So, I guess for now… I’m sorry. If it becomes apparent as time goes on that the non-Persona stuff is actively disliked by most people, we’ll likely reduce the scope of Atlus related news we report on, though.
Content: More from Persona Central
The fourth question in the survey was “What sort of content would you like to see MORE of from Persona Central?“ I’m carefully considering each answer we received, but I’ll respond to only a few here:
Analysis of current Atlus games in relation to previous titles (like the sales comparisons for the recently released #FE), cumulative stories (like the recent P5 timeline), and stories on potential developments in the future (Atlus filing a curious trademark, for example).
Like the above mentions, examples of this would probably include some of the articles in our “Features” category like the Persona sales graphic and the Persona 5 news timeline.
I like working on this sort of content, so it’s certainly something I will consider doing more of in the future. Primarily, our objective is to cover the latest news and media, so articles that stray from that haven’t been a focus so far.
More Persona related articles.
I would love to see more Persona but I understand not that much information is being put out.
Yep. Believe me, I would also like to see more Persona content from Persona Central, but our output is limited by the actual available news. I guess this is where feature writing and opinion pieces could come in.
MOAR PERSONA 4! With Yukiko pictures!
Maybe interviews with Atlus U.S.A. staff if you can get your hands on them. Discuss the localisations of the MegaTen games.
That’d be a great opportunity, although I’m not sure Persona Central rates quite that high just yet.
Community driven content would be nice.
Community involvement like surveys. Like this but more often.
Community oriented content is an interesting prospect, though I must admit I’m not even quite sure what that would entail since I’m so used to only covering news and media distributed by official sources. Some other game blogs have weekly “forum” posts which are just used for open discussion. Stuff like that?
Content: Less from Persona Central
As mentioned previously, a lot of the responses to the fifth question in the survey “What sort of content would you like to see LESS of from Persona Central?” were about the “Megaten vs. Non-Megaten” issue. That’s been addressed, so going over a few of the other answers:
Things that don’t really matter. I personally don’t feel like the recent countdown of Odin Sphere with its guest artists are particularly newsworthy, but that’s just my two cents.
So this one’s a weird one. The recent guest illustration countdown posts don’t matter from a straight “news” perspective, but they do feature Atlus PR reaching out to a wide range of different guest illustrators to create some really cool art for Odin Sphere Leifthrasir.
Other than what is strictly “news,” I do also want to cover what is “new” in terms of officially released media. While determining what is or is not significant in that way is a slippery slope, I do understand what you’re saying. I think a possible concession could have been for those countdown posts to be contained in a single post, instead of spread throughout several as new art released.
Nothing in particular in terms of content.Although if I wanna see less of something it’s the animosity and toxicity present in the comment section,which basically means better moderation
There were a couple of particular issues in the comments a while back where I had to be much more active in terms of moderation than I would have liked, but thankfully things have been more cordial since.
I won’t tolerate insults sent to other users, but it gets a bit more complicated when it’s simply a “heated discussion” with lots of disagreement. Still, I pay attention to the comments and if it ever gets too out of hand, I’ll seek measures to rectify it.
Unfortunately, running this website isn’t free, and the ads help with those costs. I intentionally placed them so they would not be intrusive, too. I’ve heard Patreon is a popular venue bloggers have been using to support themselves, but I don’t know if Persona Central would benefit from that yet.
Less posts about Japan exclusive games with less likelihood of making it West anytime soon. Not none at all, but tone it down a bit since it kinda overcrowds the site.
I’m sorry, but I don’t think that’s feasible when this is a website that revolves around Japanese properties. Persona Central isn’t designed to strictly cover Western related Atlus news, but news about Atlus in a worldwide capacity. Most of the news will naturally feature Japan at the forefront, and it wouldn’t make sense for us to ignore that to favor Western specific news instead.
The last question was: “Additional comments or suggestions about Persona Central.” Addressing a couple of them:
I enjoy the style of writing/headlines employed by the site. Nothing is “clickbait”; you get the basic gist in the headline, and then the body of the article provides well-written and meaningful expansion on that.
Thanks. There’s one particular article which I still regret having written the headline for in the way I did, and it’s what I specifically keep in mind when it comes to avoiding the trap of “clickbait headlines.” It was: “Persona 5 Release Window Revealed.”
At the time, it made sense and I did specify that the game could always be delayed again in the article itself, but the wording of the headline made it appear much more conclusive than the story actually was. The briefness of the headline brought the article a lot of attention, but in an unearned way.
This might just be me but the logo looks a little simplistic and maybe it should be updated.
It’s probably because the logo was made rather hastily by me, and I’m far from a graphic designer. I guess I should look into updating it (or, getting it updated).
Finally, I’d like to thank everyone for the kind messages we received.
Thanks so much for running it! You do such an excellent job and I appreciate how much work goes into it!
I think just having a Persona/SMT/Atlus Hub is wonderful. I refresh your website everyday before I go to school, when I come home, and before I go to bed, because I’m always in anticipation for any big news. I thank you for having something like this, because it’s personally a Godsend that I don’t have to spend hours scouring the internet for information. Thank you very much, and I implore you to keep doing what you’re doing, because I absolutely love it and appreciate it.
Keep up the great work, you all do a great part in one of the best fansites on the internet!
Keep up the good work, helps me out alot.
You guys are pretty cool.
Those are just a few of the messages, and we’re grateful for each and every one. It can be tough at times, but knowing that people appreciate the work helps a lot.
Feel free to leave a comment about your thoughts if you didn’t have a chance to participate in the survey, or simply to comment on the feedback!